Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen

Christopher Burkett

Radiant Mountain Aspen

Colorado, 1997

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen
Radiant Mountain Aspen



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “Radiant Mountain Aspen.” Individually handmade by Burkett from 8×10-format transparency film. Mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on verso.

The 40×50 inch Museum Edition is limited to 15. Due to the size and delicate nature of the artworks, they must be shipped directly to a professional framer of your choice. For clients in the Bay Area, we also offer framing and installation services. International shipping is also available upon request. Please for additional information.



“My wife, Ruth, and I traveled to Colorado in October of 1997 to photograph. The first day we began at the Grand Mesa area with limited success, then a second day around Telluride, where I made the “Telluride Aspens” photograph. We then spent the night camped out around Lizard Head Pass. We were still getting used to the high altitudes and carrying around the 8×10 equipment was especially tiring – lugging at least 80 pounds of equipment to whatever scene was to be photographed.

The third day I photographed “Beaver Lodge at Sunrise.” The fourth day found us between Silverton and Durango where I came across this rather remarkable scene. This tree was perched on the edge of the mountain cliff and the aspen leaves were totally backlit in the rising sun. The 9,000 foot elevation meant that the intense blue sky would illuminate the valley below and provide a vivid color contrast to the bright yellow leaves. The air was perfectly still and my biggest concern was that convection currents could come up from below and rustle the leaves. If that started it wouldn’t stop and this image would be lost forever.

The sun was still so low in the sky that even with a compendium lens shade the sun was hitting the lens and creating a huge amount of flare which was ruining the image. Fortuitously, the main trunk on the right extended almost straight up, so I moved my view camera to place its shadow directly over the lens opening which completely eliminated any flare.

I carefully but quickly composed, focused, metered and exposed one piece of film and was pleased to see that the wind was still dead quiet. Knowing this image had great potential, I wanted to do a backup shot but had to move the camera to keep the shadow doing its job and recompose the image again. I was successful in making the backup shot and one more (again moving the camera) for good measure. As it turned out, all three photographs are so similar that I’m not sure which one I chose to print. A 600mm lens was used at f/45 at 1/2 second for all three pieces of film. I precisely calibrate my view camera lenses and have plus or minus exposure compensation factors for each shutter speed marked on each lens board.In this case, the actual exposure was f/45–1/6, since the exposure was going to be 1/6 of an f/stop longer than 1/2 second.

In three days I had three unique and successful images which is not that uncommon on a photo trip. I often go two weeks or more without even setting up the camera, wondering if I’m ever going to get another photograph. Then everything comes together for a series of great images in a few days. Or it doesn’t.

There’s a certain amount of mystery to the creative process which is undeniable but difficult to explain. You can’t force it, you can’t be passive. There has to be an openness to inspiration, clarity and intuitive understanding. And lots of patience.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.


christopher burkett in his darkroom


Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.